Apple's iPhone 6 appears on schedule for its public reveal in September, when they begin churning off the production line into the pockets of tens of millions of customers. The smartphone will use new Apple-designed chips, here's what we think we know about them:
Apple's new 2.0GHz A8 processor will be much faster than the 1.3GHz A7 it replaces. At least one Apple rumor-provider believes it may even be as fast as 2.6GHz per core.
The new A8-series chips are apparently being manufactured using the 20-nanometer process, making them smaller than the 28-nanometer A7 chips. A move to this small die size means the chips will be inherently faster while also delivering improved battery life. There has been one claim that Apple may develop two versions of the chip.
When Apple moved from the A6 to A7 processor, it roughly doubled graphics and processor performance -- increasing chip frequency while moving to a smaller die will deliver similar performance gains. With a Geekbench 3 score of 1,409 the iPhone 5S is overall the fastest smartphone on the market, according to PC Advisor's August tests in which the Apple device led in most categories.
Critics will complain Apple's iPhone 6 continues to use a dual-core chip, putting it "behind" some competitors. However, the 32-bit unoptimized quad core chips on other devices deliver no advantage other than to product marketing - in the event Apple surprises us by moving to quad-core processors, it will accompany these with iOS and hardware improvements designed to deliver significant performance improvements.
Samsung is history
Apple has shifted chip production away from Samsung to TSMC, which is now the exclusive manufacturer of Apple's new processor. Samsung has manufactured Apple's A-series processors until now, so the loss of that business has slashed Samsung revenues by at least a billion dollars.
Motion sensor improvements
Apple's M7 coprocessor enables battery-efficient motion tracking. A new report this morning describes "Phosphorous", a new M8 version of the chip that adds the capacity to collect data for HealthKit and other devices, and a better motion sensor.
Apple was the first to ship a 64-bit smartphone. One year later and with iOS 8 and OS X's Continuity, we should begin to see apps that truly realize the potential of desktop class performance on a mobile device.
Claims Apple intends popping 2GB of RAM inside the iPad Air 2 (which will also feature TouchID) suggest the company is determined to improve graphics and computational performance in its new devices. It is possible Apple will put 2GB RAM inside the larger 5.5-inch iPhone.
Along with faster WiFi and a much better LTE chip, the new iPhone is expected to host a special Beats chip that will enable the device to determine if Beats headphones are connected. If they are connected it will enhance audio appropriately for the headphones.
The new processor will deliver vastly-improved graphics rendering and response times, while also being extremely economical on power. This will be particularly compelling on the iPad Air 2 and 5.5-inch iPhone, boosting the device's multitasking support.
This is what we think we know about Apple's new iPhone chips at this point. It will be interesting to see what Apple does and doesn't do from this list when the new iPhone launches next month.
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